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STEMM Educator of the Year – Primary or Secondary School Level

Congratulations to the 2023 STEMM Educator of the Year (Primary or Secondary School Level) Finalists

Mrs Christie Evans

Heathfield Primary School

Mrs Christie Evans has partnered Foundation to Year 7 students with more than 25 companies to solve 44 different authentic problems in the last six years, across multiple schools. She has provided students with the opportunity to connect with STEMM professionals and engage with real-world, student-driven learning to extend their understanding and passion for STEMM.


Mrs Evans has shared problem-based learning across Australia through conferences and workshops, changing the way teachers integrate the curriculum. She has taken a pivotal role in the scientific ecosystem by educating teachers and equipping students with the skills to be critical and resourceful when solving problems, working collaboratively, and capitalising on strengths to develop innovative scientific solutions.


Mr Ross Riach

Norwood International High School

Mr Ross Riach leads a number of STEM programs at Norwood International High School.


Extra-Terrestrial Terrains program:
Collaborating with the University of Adelaide’s Geosciences division to deliver lectures and practicals, Mr Riach promoted this typically underrepresented branch of science in the community through the school’s newsletter and various social media platforms, boosting the appeal of these subject areas for students.


Escape room pedagogy:
Mr Riach has developed multiple escape rooms, and his conferences, seminars and school programs boost the education setting's capacity to think outside the box for STEM education and provide effective cross-curricular opportunities.


Through his Escape Room website, Youtube channel and social –media, Mr Riach exposes the non-educational world to these topics, and is now seeking to provide the same training and escape room opportunities to the general community with a portable facility, once complete.


Battlebot program:
Mr Riach’s Battlebot program is designed to boost digital technology capabilities for future defence career prospects. Aligning with leading STEM industries and careers such as space, gaming and military applications, this program helps create job pathways for students.

As of July 2023, Mr Riach is the STEM Innovator & Laboratory Coordinator at Gleeson College.

Mrs Jessica Simons

Trinity College Gawler

As Assistant Head of Mathematics, Mrs Jessica Simons's passion for innovation has resulted in significant impacts on students’ engagement in mathematics. She led a team in developing an interdisciplinary curriculum focusing on relevant, creative and reflective work, with a strong emphasis on new technologies and STEM practices.


Her VR in Schools Study shows that VR provides opportunities for students to express their understanding of content in novel, interactive, and engaging ways, leading to higher student value and ownership of their learning. This has led to an increase in engagement in STEM subjects at the College and beyond.

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